Mid-way between solstice and equinox, we went to Sheffield Botanical Gardens. Maybe not the best time of year to visit the gardens—there were handwritten signs saying “The gardens still close at 4pm”—but despite the season we still felt welcomed by what flowers there were.
Snowdrops were everywhere, for a start, occasionally accompanied by Leucojum vernum, their snowflake cousins:
Eggy crocuses (C. flavus), and Creme-eggy crocuses (C. chrysanthus):
This smashing Garrya elliptica was festooned with little chains of bell-like flowers:
And around the entrance to the old bear pit—festooning it, indeed—was this amazing Rhododendron “Christmas Cheer”:
But (and if you’re not a gardener you might not expect this) everywhere we went we were followed around by scents; or maybe we followed them!
There was an isolated Hamamelis mollis “Brevipetala” (left), and then below the fountain banks of witch-hazel, including H. x intermedia “Primavera” and “Aphrodite” (right, plus a squirrel):
Sheffield hosts the national collection of Sarcococca and we stumbled across this amazing, sweet-smelling bush of it:
And among all the heathers we found, the queerest was this Erica lusitanica, or Portuguese heath, with an aroma like the inside of a sweet jar:
All in all, the visit cheered us up on a cold, February day:
Thanks, Sheffield Botanical Gardens!